Bonn

It’s already been two months since my postdoc in Bonn started. As is usual, some things about it and the changes have been good, some bad… Here is some random stuff:

So I have already found the best painting before – and yesterday I’ve been to the best art museum! It’s the Arp Museum, ten minutes south from Bonn by train. The buildings itself are impressive – some exhibits are in a train station and then you walk through a tunnel and up a tower which is also mostly underground to the second part of the museum. It’s hard to describe, but the atmosphere of the place is really unusual and interesting. And the exhibits! Among the things they have now, I was most touched by strange sculptures about the nature of people by Aron Demetz (pdf) and explorations of a different, softer space and world by Ernesto Neto (pdf – the one I liked maybe the most is not even shown in the flyer).

After biking quite a lot in Indiana, I bought a decent road bike now. It’s really faster and more fun! But within a month, I already fell from it twice , which is about as many times as during the 4 years on the previous one! Both were quite classic mistakes: To ride faster, I have now the pedals to which you click your shoes in. Well but then you of course have to click them out when you want to stop and when you forget about it (as I did at a traffic light), you just fall sideways, still sitting on the bike… it’s actually quite funny! And the other time it started to rain and I slid when crossing a tram rail on the street.

There are lots of bike lanes everywhere around, especially along the Rhine (which itself is quite incredible – it’s almost half a kilometer wide here, and so there are not too many bridges across it, rather lots of ferries, even for cars). But these aren’t actually that great for biking fast, as they are often full of people and the asphalt is not so great, so I’ve been rather going on the roads. Well, I’m spoiled from Indiana – nothing beats those straight, flat country roads on which hardly any cars go.

The Max Planck Institute where I’m working is in a former post office building (or rather a whole block) in the very center of the city. But the buildings are still partly used by the post office and some business, so the layout of the institute is quite strange – to get to some parts of it, you have to alternatively walk up and down various staircases and hope you won’t get lost. And in the courtyard of the block there is a big (covered) shop – from many of our offices you can watch people choosing jackets and trousers! But the working environment is great and there are many other postdocs.

Bonn itself is quite a cute, small city. The population is not very large to start with, over 300000 people, but the city is actually comprised of several cities and villages, which still have quite an independent feel. So Bonn proper is even smaller and very walkable. It’s incredible that this used to be the capitol of Germany for over 40 years!

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